Monday, May 21, 2012

President BS Aquino reportedly schmoozes with INC over pro-Corona lobby

Speculation runs high in the wake of what looked liked a courtesy call made by Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Simeon Aquino III (BS Aquino) to Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) head Eduardo Manalo on Monday. According to an report, the meeting was for the President to "talk about the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, among others". And presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda insists that this was really a meeting that was "supposed to have taken place during the Holy week" but was conducted much later owing to a prior lack of a common schedule for this meeting.

The INC has so far neither confirmed nor denied reports that have emerged over the last couple of days that it is lobbying the Senate for the acquittal of Chief Justice Renato Corona who is currently undergoing an impeachment trial in a Senate court.

The INC wields significant influence over the outcome of elections in the Philippines and politicians have a long history of schmoozing with its officers who enjoy near absolute control over what position in politics and on national issues its congregation takes. That no less than the President himself would go out of his way to meet the INC head at the INC temple rather than the other way around -- the President summoning him to MalacaƱang -- potentially says something about who needs who more.

Senators Edgardo Angara, Francis Pangilinan, and Juan Ponce Enrile had earlier issued statements denying they had met with INC officials recently...
Angara, however, said it is within the rights of any sect or civilian group to request for an audience with their representatives.

"I think there is nothing wrong with constituents to talk to their representative government. Hindi ba yun ang konsepto ng ating demokrasya, representative government?" he said.

"People are represented by representatives and so the people and their organizations can talk to their representative" he added.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had earlier stated that he is "not bothered" by this alleged INC lobby, "He said he was confident that the senators would see the overwhelming evidence against the Chief Justice and vote to convict him."

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